‘If only you carefully listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to do watchfully all these commandments which I command you this day.”
Before coming to Christ, I always wondered how Christians were able to communicate with God. I never really understood how someone can talk to God, let alone hear from Him and know that it’s Him speaking. I mean how could this even be possible? Speaking and hearing from a God that we can’t even see. It sounded ridiculous to me and even though I had believed there was a God I never thought that He could ever communicate with us individually.
As far fetched as it may have seemed to me I didn’t truly realize this ability until after I accepted Jesus into my life and began to build a relationship Him. I noticed that as I began to read the Bible there were many questions that would come to my mind. But as I continued to grow a deeper understanding of God’s Word those questions were beginning to get answered one at a time. It’s like God knew what was on my mind and He addressed those things as I began to learn more about Him.
I also started to realize that the Lord was attempting to speak to me even before I had developed a relationship with Him. They say hind sight is 20/20, which makes complete sense because you’re more likely to be receptive to things after being exposed to them. This was definitely the case for me when I started to examine my past and the experiences I had been through. As I was exposed to how God worked in our lives, I began to see how He was reaching out to me, helping to direct my path even before I acknowledged Him.
So how does God speak to us and how can we know when we hear from Him? How do we differentiate our own thoughts from the voice of God? Here you will find 4 ways God speaks to us but keep in mind that God works in mysterious ways and no other manner is impossible for Him. Altogether, we have to maintain an open mind and be aware as well as receptive to the type of communication He chooses to utilize for His purpose.
1.) Through scripture
1 Timothy 3:16-17
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
In the Bible you will find that God gives us instructions and principles for different life situations. God never violates His own Word or principles so if you feel He is speaking to you about something but it doesn’t correlate with His Word or values than more than likely it isn’t from God. The Bible is filled with stories about people from Adam & Eve, Abraham, Moses, Job, and many others to the 12 apostles. We can find that each of them have experienced something we have either been through or are going through ourselves making it relatable and helpful for us to know what to do in some of our experiences. If you need help raising children, getting through marriage problems, dealing with fear, going through hardships, struggling with depression or any other situation, you can find it in the Bible. God gives a solution for any kind of situation but you must remain open to His instruction and guidance.
2.) Through Circumstances
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Events occur in our lives to direct us, change us, and to help us grow spiritually. God may use them to get our attention and draw us closer to Him. Or sometimes God uses our circumstances to mold us and instill righteous character. There may be things that He’s trying to teach us through our experiences; such as humility, gratitude, patience, and other godly characteristics. He may also use our circumstances to test our faith. Are we really trusting in Him and relying on His guidance instead of trying to do things on our own? Either way, this form of communication from Him allows us to become mature and complete through our experiences.
3.) Through His Spirit
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
When we accept Jesus into our lives and follow Him as our Lord, His Spirit comes to live in us. God’s spirit speaks to us through our conscience, directing us and helping us to make the right decisions. The spirit may also bring conviction upon us when we are not living in line with God’s principles. Just about anything that grabs hold of us through music, sermons, conversations, scripture, etc is God’s spirit speaking to us directly which reveals a word of truth to our hearts. This is why everyone has their own personal truth that applies to them when they hear the same thing whatever it may be.
4.) Through Prayer
1 John 5:14:
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
Prayer is our way to have private conversations with God and express our deepest thoughts, feelings and fears. We can rely on prayer as a great source of communication with God, as He will speak to us through it. Sometimes the answer to our prayer is a yes, in which case what we asked for was in line with God’s will. It may also be that the answer to our prayer is a no, in which case what we asked for might have been harmful to us in our spiritual life. Or maybe it’s a no because the Lord has a different plan for us. There are times when a no will actually lead us to something else better than what we had asked for. God sees things differently than we do, so the answer to our prayers may not always come in the way we want or as quickly as we want. If our hearts aren’t where the Lord wants them to be He may delay in answering. Or if our faith is lacking we might not be able to hear His answers to our prayers. Either way God’s timing is always perfect and we can expect to hear an answer from Him as long as we’re open and receptive to it.
As I stated before there is no manner which is impossible for God to communicate and there are many other ways in which He can speak to us. He can speak to us through dreams, through miracles, through nature, through people, through opportunities, through self-examination, and a plethora of other means. The important thing to remember is that if we feel the Lord is speaking to us we should always question if it is in line with scripture because He will never reveal something to us that contradicts His Word or principles. Through prayer and the continual seeking of God’s Word we can obtain God’s confirmation if we are ever unsure about something. Also, keep in mind that there are hindrances that may keep us from hearing God, such as, wrong attitudes, resentment or unconfessed sin. When this happens we need to immediately confess and repent to bring us back into a close relationship with God and keep the lines of communication open.